"I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible." - Walter Williams

From The Source

Walter Williams'
"Journalist's Creed"

The first dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism was Walter Williams.   In approximately 1905, he wrote "The Journalist's Creed". Williams was a man of his time, although in some ways perhaps a bit ahead of it, as the language of the Creed demonstrates (remember, for example, women a century ago not only were not as prominent a part of journalism as now, but were, in fact, quite scarce).

It is reprinted here to show what the ideal is in journalism and for the edification of those journalists who have never read nor even heard of it or Walter Williams. With only a few minor modifications, "The Journalist's Creed" is a worthy standard by which to judge every profession, every person. "I believe in the profession of journalism.

"I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

"I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

"I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

"I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

"I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one's own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another's instructions or another's dividends.

"I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

"I believe that the journalism which succeeds best -- and best deserves success -- fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today's world."

 

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